Covenant of Love for Europe
New Schoenstatt Shrine Dedicated in Paderborn, May 28, 2000
(Dieter Große Böckmann) The year 2000 is a year of new Schoenstatt shrines — the first new European shrine was dedicated in Paderborn-Benhausen on Sunday, May 28, 2000 by Archbishop Degenhardt of Paderborn - on the day when Northern Germany was hit by an unusually heavy storm that tested the confidence and steadfastness of the 1,000 or so participants.
Benhausen near Paderborn is the town where Father Fritz Josef Hillebrand (+ Oct. 28,1999), a Pallottine Father who worked for Schoenstatt, was born. Benhausen Pastor Dr. Michael Menke-Peitzmeyer invited the parishioners for the celebration and welcomed the Schoenstatters as neighbors and friends.
A festive holy Mass with the consecration of the altar culminated in the common covenant of love with the Mother Thrice Admirable, Queen and Victress of Schoenstatt.
A large number of volunteers had prepared a nearby hall for a get-together of all participants - snacks, warmth, and sharing were welcome after the hours outside in the cold and stormy weather. Early in the afternoon, those who were willing to again face the heavy storm went to the shrine for Benediction and thanksgiving and to enjoy the various signs of joy and unity expressed by Schoenstatt members and communities.
Open for all
The light from Bethlehem had been brought from the diocesan shrine in Frohlinde. Guests had arrived from Magdeburg already the day before, as well as Schoenstatt members from Bolton, England, with Father Andrew Pastore, and from Poland with Father Matyssek.
Father Beller, leader of the German Schoenstatt Movement, pointed at the heavy storm as a sign for the situation of many Christians nowadays; that's why Christians need holy places like this where they experience God's presence. Referring to the shrine placed on wide, open land, he said that this shrine should be a challenge to be open and to share.
Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary born in the Paderborn Diocese had sent greetings - from Chile, Australia, and other places.
Near the shrine, a high cross was erected, with the Schoenstatt sign on the pavement around. The open doors of the Schoenstatt sign are understood as a program: This shrine is to be a place of grace, open for all who want to come home to a loving mother.
English Edition: Joan Biemert, New Franken/WI, USA